Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Tea

The best thing about having a glasshouse at your disposal, more or less, is that things are always happening in there plant-wise. The glasshouse plant collection is support of teaching and research, so specimens tend to fall into certain types and one of those categories is plants important by virtue of their importance to humans. Although it isn't very big this little shrub flowers every year although the flower isn't as big or attractive as some of its ornamental relatives. Did you recognize this flower as a Camellia? For a long time, tea was Thea sinensis, just the Latinized name for tea, but modern systematic analysis places Thea smack dab in the middle of the genus Camellia, so now tea is Camellia sinensis, however the family remains Theaceae, based on the genus Thea which is now Camelia.  Not sure about why that name is conserved after the genus has been subsumed into another. At any rate once you know tea is a Camellia, the resemblance is pretty clear. 

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